Archive for October 2014

A feast of 3D printed artwork

For many months, the Shemer Art Center has been preparing for what is currently a relative rarity: an art show featuring 3D printing.

It’s been a long time coming, so the opening was particularly exciting for many of us. I have three sculptures in the show – Simple Planes With Aquamarine Stripe, Holy Cannoli and SpiritHole Sunset – which features the work of more than 20 artists from around the United States.

It’s fascinating to see some of the materials that people are printing in, including plaster, and what they are printing with it.

Read More →

How many 3D printers does one person need?!

I admit, in some ways this is embarrassing.

But as I told my wife, really, it all makes sense. “It’s just the way it worked out, honey.”

I am now the owner of three, yes three, 3D printers. Three years ago, I didn’t have any. The more I’ve learned and the more fun I’ve had, I’ve justified owning each one ….

Read More →

Feed your 3D printer with host software ….

In my previous two posts, I talked about the CAD software where a design begins and the separate slicer software I use to get more control of the condition of the printed piece (some host software has the slicer built in, and that may well be the way things are headed, but for now, that separate slicing software seems to work better).

Once you have prepared your file accordingly, it’s time to feed it to your printer. I use Repetier-Host, based on the recommendation of Steve Graber, who built the Cerberus 250 and Gigante printers I own (yeah, I bought a 250 for my desktop. Kinda like having an airliner and a puddlejumper – I’ll talk more about that in a future post).

Repetier Host homepage,

Repetier Host homepage,

According to an interesting Makezine article, which also talks about slicing software, Repetier-Host has now replaced Printrun as the most popular host software. As happens with technology, I suspect there will be more leapfrogging as things advance. The Makezine article mentions that Microsoft is even getting into the game, so this technology is catching the attention of the big boys now.

Read More →

After CAD it’s time to slice ….

After I create my design in my CAD (computer aided design) program, as I talked about in last week’s post, it’s time to take the .STL file into a slicing program.

With my Cubex printer, the slicer is built into the host program, taking you from the CAD design right to the host program. While it was one less apparent step, you also had no control over the process, and slicing is pretty important.

Slicing is the step in which the item you are going to print is reduced to planes, each of which will be laid down by extruder types of printers. Both the Cubex and Cerberus 3D’s deltabot printers are extruders.

Read More →

3D printing starts with CAD

One of the reasons I was able to get involved with 3D printing so quickly was that I was already using CAD software. Computer Aided Design software allows you to create an .STL file, which creates an item in 3 dimensions and is the file from which a 3D printer works.

I started using Alibre software about five or six years ago because, honestly, I can’t draw. Yes, I know that’s weird, because I’m an artist, but I’m a sculptor. I can think in 3 dimensions, but drawing is, at best, a challenge for me.

I picked Alibre because it was free. I could download a trial version and play with it, which I did. A lot. I spent many hours just dinking around with it.

Read More →